Hello, this is TORA.
”What should I put in tomorrow’s Bento”?
In Japan, this is something that you will hear moms saying very often.
The number of ”Bento-danshi”, or men that make their own Bento and bring them to work or school, are increasing nowadays.
I, too, make my own Bentos.
In addition, many different types of Bento boxes, made for various types of foods and purposes, are currently being sold.
These include Bento boxes with heat-preserving effects, those with which you can vacuum-pack the food, retro-style aluminum Bento boxes, and ceramic Bento boxes.
Let us now briefly review the history of Bento.
The History of Bento in Japan
In Japan, <strong”bento”< strong=””>s existed from around the Heian Period (794-1185/1192) .
At the time, the typical Bento was rice balls made of types of dried rice called ”mikarehi” and ”hoshi-ihi”, wrapped in bamboo skin and striped bamboo,which are known to have anti-bacterial effects.
In the Edo Period, travelers carried Bento around by wrapping them on their waists. These Bentos were called ”Koshi-bento” and were a simple type of Bento.</strong”bento”<>
It is said that the ”Maku-no-uchi Bento”, a standard type of Japanese Bento, got its name from the fact that it was invented for people to eat during ”Maku-ai”, the intermission during Kabuki and Noh shows.
Many new types of Bento boxes and Bento emerged in the Meiji , Taisho, and Showa Eras. Bentos eventually evolved into something that is an important part of Japanese culture.
Bentos are popular overseas, too. The overseas Bento fad began in Paris, where they were popular for a while.
Apparently, the people of Paris became interested in Bento after seeing them in Anime.
Representative Bento Types
- Hinomaru Bento[日の丸弁当]
The ”Hinomaru Bento” is a very simple type of Bento that looks like the Japanese flag, with a pickled ume placed on top of white rice.
- Not only is the pickled ume good for decoration, but it has a preserving effect.
- Maku-no-uchi Bento[幕の内弁当]
A Bento that consists of white rice and multiple foods such as egg rolls, kamaboko (boiled fish paste), broiled fish, fried food, simmered food, pickled food, and tsukudani (food simmered in soy sauce).
- Nori Bento[海苔弁当]
A simple Bento with chopped up dried bonito sprinkled on top of rice and seaweed laid on top.
- ”Chara-Ben” (Character Bentos)[キャラ弁]
Bentos that look like characters from Anime, and other popular characters such as Doraemon and Hello Kitty.
- Nowadays, there are many ”Chara-Ben”s that are made very Intricately and beautifully.
Continue to Enjoy Bentos
Did you enjoy this article? As was stated, Bentos have been around since old times in Japan.
Nowadays, the word ”Bento” is being used overseas too.
We hope that you can enjoy delicious Bento not just in Japan but overseas too.
That’s all for today.